In Focus

Election 2020:

Where Candidates for Congress Stand

Arkansas

SENATE

Dan Whitfield

Independent

U.S. Senate, Arkansas

 

1.         WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS THAT CONGRESS CAN HELP TO REDUCE THE ENERGY AND WATER CONSUMPTION OF BUILDINGS TO HELP MAKE THEM MORE SUSTAINABLE?

 

We could stop giving the fossil fuel industry subsidies for just a few years and instead use those funds to put solar panels on every house. Converting uranium reactors to thorium is also something that must happen if we are to switch away from dangerous clean energy sources and switch to safer and more effective ones.

 

2. WHICH OF THESE SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES DO YOU SUPPORT AND WOULD WORK TO ENACT IF ELECTED?

 

a. Set benchmarking requirements for commercial buildings and encourage cities and states to adopt performance-based standards for buildings, b. Provide rebates to homeowners who invest in energy efficiency improvements,

c. Provide incentives to states and localities to adopt the most up-to-date energy building codes,

d. Renew and expand tax incentives for energy efficient buildings,

e. Require federal buildings to meet aggressive energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets,

f. Provide support to states and localities to make buildings more resilient from natural hazards and disasters,

g. Invest in the retrofitting of schools, community centers, libraries and other civic buildings to improve occupant safety and reduce energy consumption, especially in underserved communities,

h. Conduct research into the most promising technologies, products and materials that improve occupant health and reduce transmission of contagious disease while saving energy,

i. Improving infrastructure in dams to provide hydro electricity while strengthening them for the massive floods that are inevitable.

 

3.         IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO ENSURE THAT ALL AMERICANS, REGARDLESS OF SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, ARE ABLE TO BENEFIT FROM HEALTHY AND SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS?

 

Provide better tax incentives for home solar.

Provide better incentives for businesses that adopt energy efficient standards.

Provide tax incentives for electric vehicles.

 

4.         IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO TRAIN AND PREPARE PEOPLE FOR CLEAN ENERGY JOBS THAT ADVANCE SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS AND BUILDING COMPONENTS?

 

The fossil fuel industry likes to use scare tactics to promote their energy, such as how many jobs will be lost. I worked in the oilfield for two years as an instrumentation technician. I saw the dangers, damages, and unsafe work conditions that so many hard working Americans work through. The proponents of fossil fuels neglect to talk about the millions of new jobs that will be created in response to the loss of the fossil fuel ones. These jobs will have better hours, safer working conditions, higher wages, and better benefits.

 

5.         ARE YOU WILLING TO WORK WITH THE BUILDING SECTOR TO MAKE SURE THAT TRANSFORMING BUILDINGS IS PART OF THE POLICY DEBATE IN CONGRESS, INCLUDING JOINING CAUCUSES THAT ADVOCATE FOR SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES? IF YES, HOW WILL YOU DO THAT?

 

Yes. We need to be focusing on the future of our society, the future that technology has to offer, the future that puts people before profits. As an independent I will work across the aisle to help both parties see the benefits that renewable technologies have to offer. If it takes exposing legislators bribes from fossil fuel corporations in order to pressure them into doing whats right for their constituents, then so be it. The time of legislators taking huge bribes and voting for legislation that hurts us in exchange for political favors is over.

 

6.         DO YOU HAVE ANY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES RELATED TO SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS (E.G., SUPPORTING LEGISLATION IN ELECTED OFFICE, MADE ENERGY EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENTS TO A HOME, OFFICE, COMMUNITY-WIDE, ETC.)?

 

No. I have however worked in the oilfield for two years and have seen the inner workings of the fossil fuel industry. I will do everything I can to help Americans achieve safer work environments while protecting our planet from the destruction that is being done to it.

2ND DISTRICT

Joyce Elliott

Democratic

U.S. House, Arkansas 2

 

1.         WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS THAT CONGRESS CAN HELP TO REDUCE THE ENERGY AND WATER CONSUMPTION OF BUILDINGS TO HELP MAKE THEM MORE SUSTAINABLE?

 

One of the biggest tools Congress has to promote sustainable building projects is through the tax system. Providing tax breaks and credits for contractors who build with sustainability in mind is just one way that Congress can help reduce energy and water consumption in new building projects. Even already standing buildings can be refurbished with things like solar panels on roofs and low flow toilets.

Congress can also set an example by awarding infrastructure projects to contractors who promote sustainable building practices and will not cut corners to save a few dollars.

 

2. WHICH OF THESE SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES DO YOU SUPPORT AND WOULD WORK TO ENACT IF ELECTED?

 

a. Set benchmarking requirements for commercial buildings and encourage cities and states to adopt performance-based standards for buildings,

b. Provide rebates to homeowners who invest in energy efficiency improvements,

c. Provide incentives to states and localities to adopt the most up-to-date energy building codes,

d. Renew and expand tax incentives for energy efficient buildings,

e. Require federal buildings to meet aggressive energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets,

f. Provide support to states and localities to make buildings more resilient from natural hazards and disasters,

g. Invest in the retrofitting of schools, community centers, libraries and other civic buildings to improve occupant safety and reduce energy consumption, especially in underserved communities,

h. Conduct research into the most promising technologies, products and materials that improve occupant health and reduce transmission of contagious disease while saving energy

 

3.         IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO ENSURE THAT ALL AMERICANS, REGARDLESS OF SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, ARE ABLE TO BENEFIT FROM HEALTHY AND SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS?

 

When in Congress, I will promote sustainable and affordable housing projects just like I did in the Arkansas legislature. Numerous studies have shown that sustainability and affordability go hand in hand. When you build energy efficient homes, utility costs decrease significantly thus decreasing the cost of living for occupants.

 

4.         IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO TRAIN AND PREPARE PEOPLE FOR CLEAN ENERGY JOBS THAT ADVANCE SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS AND BUILDING COMPONENTS?

 

Clean energy jobs are increasing at an exponential rate. If the United States can be a leader in the clean energy industry then we have an incredible opportunity to rebuild our crumbling manufacturing sector. We need to recognize that not everyone needs to or wants to go to college, and give them alternative opportunities to learn a valuable skill or trade. That is one of the many reasons I support legislation that invests in vocational schools and retraining programs to encourage Americans to enter or transition into the clean energy industry. We can then link these new training centers to public infrastructure projects that utilize in sustainable building practices.

 

5.         ARE YOU WILLING TO WORK WITH THE BUILDING SECTOR TO MAKE SURE THAT TRANSFORMING BUILDINGS IS PART OF THE POLICY DEBATE IN CONGRESS, INCLUDING JOINING CAUCUSES THAT ADVOCATE FOR SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES? IF YES, HOW WILL YOU DO THAT?

 

Yes, I would be more than happy to meet with representatives from the building sector to help create partnerships that would encourage the use of sustainable building practices. Many labor unions are already lobbying Congress to invest in such partnerships and programs. I want to listen, learn, and respond to these leaders in a constructive way so that we can build a better and cleaner America.

 

6.         DO YOU HAVE ANY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES RELATED TO SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS (E.G., SUPPORTING LEGISLATION IN ELECTED OFFICE, MADE ENERGY EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENTS TO A HOME, OFFICE, COMMUNITY-WIDE, ETC.)?

 

In 2009, I sponsored (and passed) a bill to create the Arkansas Housing Trust Fund to invest in safe, affordable, and sustainable housing in the state of Arkansas. This bill specifically targeted extreme low income and vulnerable individuals. It also required that an advisory board be formed to, among other things, evaluate applications to this fund and to ensure that the structures built using this money would meet appropriate environmental and sustainability standards.

BuildingAction does not endorse candidates in primary or general elections. Nothing in this report should be construed as support or opposition to any candidate. Candidates and parties are listed alphabetically. BuildingAction made every effort to report on candidates’ positions accurately; any mistakes or omissions were inadvertent. Please email info@agoragov.com with any suggested corrections.)

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